Saturday, March 22, 2008

Big Bunny Fun Run 5K: a nice quick parenthesis

I love this local run, with a start around our block. Walking to the start, not even a street to cross, how closer can it get! With familiar faces, familiar streets, and after 6 participations, it is really becoming a familiar race. And a family race with the three boys running with me and Agnès as our coach and event photographer. Our race.

Held every year on Holly Saturday (Easter weekend), I only missed the 2003 edition because I was running my second Boston marathon that weekend (I have run Boston every other year since 2001). With only 3 miles, it is a nice break in my ultra running, quite short compared to the 40-mile long run I did last Saturday for instance. A sort of parenthesis...

Although earlier in the year than usual, the weather was as perfect as the past years: pure blue sky, sunny but cool enough temperature at the 9 am start, trees blooming all over the place to celebrate this second day of spring. Add some competition and a completely flat course and you have the perfect recipe for a fast time.
A couple of years ago we missed a turn and did not pass by Eaton elementary school, shortening a bit the course by 0.1 mile. This year my Garmin 205 indicated 3.06 miles, close enough to 3.1 miles, or 5 kilometers.
As usual, a fast start especially in the kid age groups. After a few yards I was in 3rd position, with a 5:16 pace. And after a few turns, I took the lead in Blaney as we were approaching my house. And kept it until the finish. Passed the 2-mile mark in 10:33 and kept pushing to finish first overall, finally breaking 16 minutes on this distance: 15:54! Not farther, but definitely faster, yeah! 16:54 in 2002, 16:50 in '03, 16:06 in '05, 16:33 in '06, 16:09 in '07: some consistency, regularity and... progress! Not farther this time, but faster, even at 44, cool!
Right after the finish I went back on the course to encourage the boys. Max was close behind in 18:34, taking 2nd in his competitive 14-18 age group. Max had a track competition with his school yesterday in which he ran the last leg/mile of a 1,200-400-800-1,600 long distance relay. He was really tired with little sleep over the past weeks due to his current play in his school's musical: Seussical (see this week's announcement). Yet, he ran 5:04 yesterday and will surely break 5 minutes soon (still one of my goals, although I'm note really training for it, focusing on ultras...).
Alex is also very involved in Seussical having spent tens of hours on the set construction over the past 5 weeks, and being also part of the lightning crew and run crew during the shows. By the way, you can still purchase tickets if you are in the area, an amazing Broadway-style show by high schoolers! Alex is also the Chair of the Cupertino Teen Commission and was volunteering early this morning to set up and man the registration desks. Needless to say, he was also lacking some sleep to to be at his best this morning.
I accompanied Greg for his last kilometer in which he got a surge and passed a lot of older runners, and a blast for a final sprint to the finish line, competing neck to neck with another boy of his age group.Yes, running and speed has become a family virus... A healthy one though!
Nice chats with several members of my running club in Cupertino, the Stevens Creek Striders. Also met Christine and Pierre-Yves, a French couple who has lived in the Bay Area for 12 years now, whom Agnès had invited for this run. Christine has been playing field hockey with the French National team before moving here. She now runs half marathons and triathlons. Trying to find his sport, Pierre-Yves started running 18 months ago, and already ran 2 marathons including a 3:12 at Napa this year. He already find ultra trail running more interesting. He is going to be a pacer at Western States in June, to get a flavor of it. I also learned that Pierre-Yves is part of the regular readers of my blog, always nice to put a name and a face on readers! Today he placed second in our M40-49 age group, running under 19 minutes, close behind Max. Great start, Pierre-Yves, and good luck in going "farther, faster!"
The morning ended with a long award ceremony. First, an amazing set of 40 or more raffle prizes ranging from $10 to $500 value. Then medals, plaques and trophies for seven three-deep age groups for each gender (42 awards total). A big thank you to the personnel and volunteers of the Cupertino Park and Recreation Commission for a perfect race and event, led by the popular and cheerful Big Bunny!
See you next year, if the race doesn't fall on the same weekend as Boston...


Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

It's nice you can combine the running and the Easter holiday theme (our family had to split this up). I would never place in any 5k. Congrats to you and your sons--all fast rabbits!

Jean Pommier said...

Thanks, Mark. And congrats to you for the first place at the Rucky Chucky Roundabout 50K! Another ultra overall win, how cool is that?

See you at AR in two weeks. Winning there will be another story though... ;-)


Chris O'Keefe said...

Impressive 5k time. Will see you at the start of the AR50. Looks like your in great form for AR50!

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Jean, pour cette nouvelle performance.
Bravo à Maxime
Bravo aussi aux courageux jeunes à Agnès pour la gentille photo

Pierre-Yves said...

Hi Jean,
It was nice meeting you on Saturday, congrats again for the great time! Thanks for mentioning me in your blog (thanks to Agnes for the picture), I feel part of this great community of runners. What a coincidence I met you on the Black Mountain trail the next day (and David the runner who passed me close to the finish of the 5K!). I ended up running back to the top of Black Mountain (I preferred the dirt road), missing the turn to Rancho and ended up on Page Mill. All together a 28 mile run which was good to prepare for Diablo. All the best for AR50!

Peter Lubbers said...

Congrats to the whole family, Jean. It looks like the apple(s) did not fall far from the tree -- It looks like you were all flying.
Take care,

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

Outstanding run, Jean! Sub-16 is pretty darn amazing.